Blackened Cod is pan-seared on the stovetop in just 15 minutes. It's completely optional. But, if you add a few drops of honey, it takes this fish fillet recipe over the top!
Some people want bold, blackened crust on their fish. End of story. No problem! This recipe will do just that.
Others prefer a little sweetness to offset the heat. Fans of baked blackened chicken know the secret. Add a smidgeon of honey along with the Cajun spices!
Either way, you'll love the foolproof technique to make this recipe! PLUS:
We discovered the trick to adjusting for various taste buds at our Make-Ahead Meal Stores. It's easy to make everyone happy with this recipe because you can make it both ways at the same time!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here's what you'll need to make the recipe:
- Cod fillets or loins. You'll find large cod fillets available at the fish counter. You may also find smaller cod loins, which are the middle section of the fillets and are considered premium quality. It's easier to work with smaller fish pieces, so cut larger fillets as needed.
- Note: Pollack, scrod, and white fish may be packaged as cod. See 6 common types of cod according to Southern Living magazine.
- Blackened seasoning. This is often labeled Cajun or Creole seasoning in the grocery store. Cajun blends tend to favor the heat from cayenne pepper. Creole spices incorporate more herbs like oregano and thyme. We included our DIY blend with a bold flavor in the recipe card below.
- Olive oil. Butter can be used with olive oil to create the crust on the fish fillets. When heating up the olive oil, add about 1 Tablespoon to the pan.
- Honey (optional) Leave out the honey to keep this a strictly low-carb recipe. However, you don't need much to achieve a balance of sweet and spicy. ½ teaspoon per serving adds about 10 calories and 2.8 carbohydrates.
Other Fish You Can Use
Fish with firm, meaty flesh works well in this recipe. Salmon, Corvina, tilapia, mahi-mahi, and grouper are good choices.
Directions with Pictures
Below are the steps to blacken cod or the other fish recommended.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. If desired, add a little butter to the pan too.
- Pat pieces of cod dry to remove any moisture, and add a few drops of honey to the top of each fillet, if using. Use a silicone pastry brush or the back of a spoon to rub the honey over one side of the fish. I only add it to the top side!
- Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on each side. We suggest about 2 teaspoons per 3-5 ounce serving. If the fish is thick and small, which can be the case for some cod loins, you may use less spice.
- Tip: Season just the top, place it top down in the pan, and finish seasoning the other side while the first side is cooking.
- Place fish in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Flip it over with a spatula and cook for 4 minutes more. The flesh should be white and flaky when cooked through and done. The internal temperature for fish should reach 145 °F.
Cooked blackened cod is pretty firm as fish go. However, you'll want to be gentle and take care when removing it from the pan, so it doesn't break in half...unless you want it to!
Cast Iron Skillet vs Non-Stick
You can use a non-stick skillet to blacken fish. That's what I used for this recipe because I want as little mess as possible. Most skillets will easily stand up to the short burst of cooking at medium-high heat.
If you have a cast iron skillet, use it! The oil will get sizzling hot and allow for a nice, even, blackened crust.
Cod has a mild flavor, and the flesh has a firm texture.
Yes! Prepare the uncooked fish as noted for this recipe. Sear it for 1 minute on each side and then bake it at 425 °F in the oven for about 7-8 minutes or until white and flaky.
It sure is. According to Healthline, it's high in protein and a good source of minerals, some B vitamins.
Best Sides for Blackened Cod (Low-Carb)
Here are some easy ways to round out the meal.
- Zucchini Noodle Alfredo - see the picture below of this easy, 5 ingredient recipe.
- Slaw and fixings to make blackened fish tacos.
- Salad such as Caesar salad or mixed greens.
- Roasted or air fryer vegetables.
- Topped with Pineapple Salsa (or mango salsa)
More Fish Recipes
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Blackened Cod - Foolproof Recipe!
- 20 ounces cod fillets or loins 4 pieces
- honey (optional) Use about ½ teaspoon for the top of each piece of fish which would add about 10 calories and 2.8 carbohydrates per serving.
- 2 Tablespoons Cajun Spice Blend or prepare spice blend below
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Cajun Spice Blend
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- If making the Cajun spice blend, add all of the spices to a small bowl, mix together and set aside.
- Pat cod fillets dry to remove excess moisture.
- Add a ½ teaspoon of honey to the top of each fillet, if using. Use a silicone pastry brush or the back of a spoon to distribute the honey over one side of the fish.
- Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of the cod fillets, pressing into flesh as needed. You can also season one side, place it seasoned side down in the pan, and sprinkle the remaining seasoning over the top while it's cooking.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place cod in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Flip over the fillets and cook for 4 minutes more. The flesh should be white and flaky when cooked through and done. The internal temperature for fish should reach 145 °F.